The Norman Northstars split their final home series of 2018, where they went head-to-head with the Eastman Selects Dec. 8−9.
On Saturday, forward Henry Muchikekwanape lead the Northstars to their third victory of the season by scoring a game winning goal in overtime and beating the Eastman Selects by a final score of 7−6.
In fact, Muchikekwanape started this game off hot by nabbing the opening two goals in the first period, giving his team a 2−0 lead heading into the second.
While the Northstars had all the momentum in the world thanks to a third goal by Jamie Valentino, the Selects quickly took the wind out of their sails halfway through the period.
Thanks to some sloppy giveaways and bad penalties, the visiting team managed to score two goals and narrow the gap to 3−2 by the end of the second.
The Northstars got into an even deeper funk at the start of the third, since the Selects scored three unanswered goals in the first six minutes, which ended up giving them a 5−3 lead.
However, thanks to a second goal by Valentino, the Northstars managed to mount a comeback and keep pace with the Selects until both teams had six goals apiece by the time the buzzer went off to signal the end of regulation time.
Both teams had plenty of chances to end the game during overtime, but Muchikekwanape was the only player able to capitalize, intercepting a pass from the Selects’ defense and scoring on goalie Justin Powers with only 48 seconds left.
Outside of ending the game with a hat trick, Muchikekwanape also added a pair of assists to his repertoire, making him the Northstars’ team leader in terms of points as of Dec. 9.
While coach Murray Nychyporuk was pleased with Saturday night’s result, he told CHTM Radio that members of his team are still suffering from confidence problems that cause them to “lose their edge” at critical points in the match.
“We did our characteristic second period and we stopped skating and then let them back in the game,” he said. “But luckily the boys were resilient tonight and we managed to tie it back up and win in overtime.”
Unfortunately, these confidence issues came back in a big way during the Northstars’ rematch against the Selects on Sunday, where the visiting team ended up walloping their opponents by a final score of 16−2.
After the Selects scored three quick goals in the first three minutes of the first period, the Northstars seemed hopelessly lost on the ice and couldn’t muster any substantial offense.
By the time the second period wrapped up, the Northstars were down 11−1 and had pretty much given up entirely, despite netting a single short-handed goal courtesy of Hunter Rambow.
When the smoke cleared at the end of the third, the Selects would add another five goals to their tally, while the Northstars only managed one in response.
As it stands, this 16−2 final represents the most goals scored against the Northstars in a single game so far this season. Otherwise, the Norman squad is still taking up last place in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League with a 3−23 win-loss record (including one overtime loss)
With this final home series in the bag, the Northstars will spend the rest of 2018 on the road, taking on the Kenora Thistles and Winnipeg Thrashers throughout Dec. 14−16.
The Northstars will be making their return to the C.A. Nesbitt Arena Jan. 5−6, where they will be butting heads with the Parkland Rangers.